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Laws and Welfare Reform Overview

A variety of Federal nondiscrimination laws require that Federally assisted programs be administered in a manner that does not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, age, religion or political belief.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (hereafter referred to as PRWORA) specifically incorporates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VI), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Title VI, Section 504 and the Age Discrimination Act, along with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (Title IX), continue to apply to States and other public and private entities that receive Federal financial assistance and that provide funds, training, food stamps, and other services and benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provisions of the PRWORA.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII), the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) continue to require nondiscrimination in employment by States and public and private entities that administer, operate or participate in employment programs under TANF even if these entities do not receive Federal assistance. The receipt of Federal assistance also is not required for coverage of public or private entities by the ADA.

The PRWORA also imposes new eligibility and verification requirements for immigrants applying for TANF, and other benefits such as food stamps and medicaid. Pursuant to the antidiscrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA),and also Title VII, States and other public and private entities operating programs under TANF have an obligation to apply these eligibility and verification requirements as they apply to employment in a nondiscriminatory manner.

This document reviews the general prohibitions against discrimination and is intended to assist States and other public and private entities that provide services under TANF in applying these nondiscrimination laws to their programs. Additional examples of practices which may violate these nondiscrimination laws are provided in a document for case workers, entitled "Technical Assistance for Caseworkers on Civil Rights Laws and Welfare Reform."

Agencies participating in the development of these technical assistance documents are: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Index: Civil Rights Laws and Welfare Reform, Overview

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on July 26, 2013